Do You Want to be a Good, or Great Leader?

BY Kathy Crosett
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As a leader, you have to get used to the idea that you’re on stage. Your team members, even senior managers, wait for you to set the tone for the company’s culture. The qualities that you prize, and that you exhibit on a daily basis, show everyone what to expect. Every parent knows, ‘it’s what you do, not what you say,’ that matters when you’re trying to set an example for your children. The same philosophy applies in the workplace and Travis Bradberry lists several leadership behaviors you can exhibit, in order to make a difference.

Kind versus Weak

When it’s time to make a tough decision or deliver difficult news to an employee, some leaders might be tempted to sugar-​coat the truth. In fact, they might be so uncomfortable about the truth, they never actually get the point across to the employee. If a team member fails to realize she needs to close three more sales every month after you have a chat with her, you might have been too weak in your presentation. Learn to have these conversations with employees without being weak. If you’re not sure the employee understands exactly what you’re saying, ask her to repeat her understanding of the situation. If there’s confusion, stay deliberate and calm, and spell out exactly what you expect. Make sure to praise what she’s doing correctly, too. Incorporating praise shows kindness and indicates you expect a positive outcome.

Balance a Positive Outlook with Realism

Leaders are often measured and assessed by their attitudes and reactions when things don’t go according to plan. When it looks like you’re going to miss a key deadline, refrain from freaking out, yelling or otherwise behaving like you’re in middle school. Your team members will take their cues from you. If you want to keep a project on track, remain positive. Gather information, make decisions calmly and be realistic about the time frame in which things can get done. Slipping on a deadline a week or two isn’t the end of the world. Most of us are not involved in rocket science or working on a nuclear sub where making a small mistake will cost lives.

Keep Your Team Members on the Bus

When the work on a project goes horribly wrong, some leaders are tempted to throw their team members under the bus. The way they see the situation, it’s the sales rep’s fault that a key account has been lost. How long do you think your employees will stay with you if you blame them publicly for every mistake that happens in the department? Successes and failures are usually the result of team work. Whether you like it or not, you had a role in what went wrong. Claim responsibility, support your employee and you’ll score some major loyalty, not just from that team member, but from everyone who hears about the incident.

As you strive to be the best possible leader, check out Bradberry’s other suggestions.